Leaving After Colliding aka “Hit and Run”

What is Leaving After Colliding?

Leaving after Colliding laws in the District are broken down into two categories, injured persons or damaged property. D.C law differentiates between accidents where a person is injured and when property is damaged. While the penalties for not stopping for property damage are not as severe, they are still essential to understand.

According to D.C. law, if a driver has a reason to believe that they have injured a person due to an accident they are required under law to stop, wait for emergency assistance to the victim, and provide identifying information to law enforcement. For first time offenders, the maximum punishment is a fine of $1,000 and incarceration for 180 days. On the other hand, second-time offenders can expect the maximum sentence to be a fine of $2,500 and imprisonment for up to 1 year (364 days).

According to D.C. law, if a driver has reason to believe that they have damaged property due to an accident they are required under law to stop and provide information to the owner of the property or contact the police if the owner is not present. For first time offenders, the maximum punishment is a fine of $250 and incarceration for 30 days.

Requirements of Leaving After Colliding

There are specific requirements of drivers who suspect they have caused personal injury or property damage after they have been an accident including stopping and providing information to law enforcement agencies. Due to the vagueness of the law in the wording, some loopholes are crucial to know.

While D.C. Code §50- 2201.05c (a)(2) states that you must identify yourself to law enforcement after an accident occurs where there was personal injury or property damage, the wording is ambiguous when it comes to timing. In Cherry v. District of Columbia, the court opined while individuals are required to both identify themselves and give information to law enforcement it does not necessarily have to be immediate. The court determined that individuals must locate themselves within a reasonable amount of time to law enforcement agencies.

There is also the issue of driver safety. There have been numerous incidents where drivers are unable to safely pull over and therefore have been arrested for leaving after a collision. These and many more issues need to be addressed to ensure that both perpetrator and the victim are being equally treated under the law.

If you are arrested for a leaving after colliding or hit and run charge in the District of Columbia, contact Bruckheim & Patel for a free, confidential evaluation of your case.